Review: On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. AKA the Book that Made Me Ugly Cry

October 24, 2014 Book 12 ★★★★

Review: On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. AKA the Book that Made Me Ugly CryJellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Published by Harper Collins on 2010-04-06
Source: Borrowed from Library
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I'm dreaming of the boy in the tree. I tell him stories. About the Jellicoe School and the Townies and the Cadets from a school in Sydney. I tell him about the war between us for territory. And I tell him about Hannah, who lives in the unfinished house by the river. Hannah, who is too young to be hiding away from the world. Hannah, who found me on the Jellicoe Road six years ago.

Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs - the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.

And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor's only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother - who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.

The moving, joyous and brilliantly compelling new novel from the best-selling, multi-award-winning author of Looking for Alibrandi and Saving Francesca.

If there’s a book in this world that I would have regretted putting down before finishing, it would be this one. On The Jellicoe Road and I started off pretty badly. I had borrowed this book from the library 2 months before and never got motivated to finish it. When I realised my due date was coming up, I decided to pick this up. It was terribly confusing at first, and I honestly could not be any more bored by the story.

I didn’t understand the correlation between the two stories that were being told at the same time. I couldn’t separate what was real and what was fake. (Helpful hint: Some parts of the story are Hannah’s manuscript. If you’re reading the ebook then it means that the parts completely italicized are the manuscript. The rest is Taylor’s story).

However, Melina Marchetta had a beautiful and surreal way of writing. You couldn’t help but feel as if you were in Jellicoe Road and walking through the forrest and climbing the trees. It makes me want to visit Australia even more than I already do.

“I live on the Jellicoe Road. Where trees make canopies over-head and where you can sit at the top of them and see forever.”

 Also, no matter how confusing the alternating chapters are, in the end the author brings them together and honestly breaks my heart in the process.

I will not lie to you and tell you that it was easy reading this book. Taylor was annoying and selfish at times. She was standoffish most of the time and her “devil may care” attitude will get on your nerves once you start warming up to the side characters. You may think the story is slow, and yes, I won’t lie. It is a pretty slow story. However once the manuscript and Taylor’s life intersect, that’s when I was passing the pages as fast as I could.

I formed an emotional attachment to everyone in this book (yes, even Taylor once I got to know her). I sighed and swooned over Jonah Griggs and the Brigadier. I cried my eyes out while following Taylor on this journey.

I think that this is one of those books that it is perfectly acceptable to re-read if you had a bad relationship with it at first. You’ll be sure to fall in love with it.

Overall, while it had a shaky start and a questionable main character, this book presents two stories and brings them together in a very poetic and feel-inducing way. It’s a book I’d re-read any day.

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I'm Marianne. Professional Fangirl, part-time Blogger. Full-time college student. GIFs are a natural part of my posts, so be warned. I LOVE reading, so definitely feel free to discuss books with me. Opinions are welcome.
  • I always tell everyone to have patience with this book – more than usual, at least. Because like you say, you will struggle at first. But when you get to the end of story, I can almost guarantee that you would want to start over again.

    So glad you enjoyed, Marianne!

  • This was definitely a confusing book for me and, like you, I did NOT find it an easy read. Taylor was just so irritating and obtuse and I kind of thought she needed to eat a cupcake and hug it out with everyone lol.

    Jonah Griggs though. OH, JONAH <3

  • Fantastic review, Marianne! So spot on. I almost put this book down so many times, but kept pushing on as I knew it was one of my friend’s favourite books and, boy, am I glad that I did? It’s now one of my favourite books, and I tell everyone to read it, but just have patience with it because you will be rewarded. So glad you feel the same way. 🙂

  • I heard so much about this book that when I picked it up, I had sky high expectations. And there I was, expecting to love it, but then I probably didn’t fully appreciate it at the time. The concurrent storylines and the hazy storytelling probably had something to do with my attention span too. I know what you mean Marianne, but I’m glad you ended up appreciating it. Lovely review!

  • Once I put a book down, I’ll almost never give it a second chance, so good on you for that! It’s great when as a reader you’re able to form an emotional attachment with the characters, and I’m happy that the story won you over in the end. Good stuff!

  • Oh this book made me cry too. I admit that the first part was really MEH because of the whole territory thing. I honestly can’t understand anything from that 😛 But Marchetta’s writing is lovely. So I just continued reading. I agree, it really is a slow story.

    I’m so glad you loved it too, Marianne! Great review <3